First Look at The Ringling Exhibition of “Behind Closed Doors: Art in the Spanish American Home, 1492–1898”, Oct. 24, 2014- Jan. 11, 2015

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By: Carol Erickson

“Behind Closed Doors” at the Ringling Museum of Art is the first major exhibit in the United States to explore the very private lives and homes of Spain’s colonial elite from 1492 thru 1898. It consists of works from the Brooklyn Museum’s collections and private collectors.

The galleries will be welcoming visitors to take a tour of the family rooms from the public to the very private, as well as showcasing an extravagant domestic collection of  paintings, sculptures, luxury goods from everyday life, manuscripts, textiles and an amazing display of art decorative objects. These glimpses of the good life are what we expect from a show of homes of the wealthy, but you will also learn about the private lives and power struggles of Spain’s New World Elite.

Come celebrate the Spanish cultural legacy that helped form Florida’s early history that will be on display from October 24th thru January 11, 2015.  This is worth more than a “peak” at “Behind Closed Doors”, as this collection ranks the finest in the nation.

For more information, contact The Ringling Museum  941 359-5700



Provided by The Ringling:

Take a peek into the homes and lives of New Spain’s wealthy and powerful during a first of its kind exhibition at The Ringling this October.

“Behind Closed Doors: Art in the Spanish American Home, 1492–1898” is the first major exhibition in the United States to explore the private lives and interiors of Spain’s colonial elite from Christopher Columbus landing in the New World until the Spanish American War. The exhibition will be on display Oct. 24, 2014- Jan. 11, 2015 in the galleries of the Arthur F. and Ulla R. Searing Wing of the Ringling Museum of Art.

“This is a significant exhibition for The Ringling, the scale and complexity of the installation has really stretched our preparatory staff,” Steven High, executive director of The Ringling said. “We are particularly pleased to present this exhibition as it celebrates the Spanish cultural legacy that helped to form Florida’s early history.”

The galleries will be transformed to represent the interiors of homes owned by elite members of Spanish Colonial society. The exhibition explores themes including colonialism, indigenous influences and Creole culture, while looking at both the glamorous reception rooms and the intimate areas such as bedrooms or family chapels. The sala de estrado (women’s sitting room), will also be featured to display the influence of females inside the home and to examine their social identity through the materials they displayed.  The exhibition will feature approximately 160 paintings, sculptures, prints, textiles and decorative art objects.

“I had the pleasure of seeing “Behind Closed Doors” in Brooklyn last fall, and am excited that we will be bringing such a unique experience to the Ringling,” Chris Jones, curator at The Ringling said. “Based on exhaustive scholarly research, the exhibition offers a range of objects grouped as they would have been in the home, allowing us to understand how social spaces were defined and what sorts of messages they communicated.”

“Behind Closed Doors” consists of works from the Brooklyn Museum’s collections and loans from distinguished institutions and private collectors. The exhibition is organized by Richard Aste, curator of European Art at the Brooklyn Museum.

Aste will host the Viewpoint: “Expanding and Redefining American Art at the Brooklyn Museum” at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 25 in the Historic Asolo Theater. Brooklyn Museum has been a leader in displaying Spanish-American visual art since 1941. Aste, who has served as a curator at the Brooklyn Museum since 2010, will discuss its focus on objects from the Caribbean Basin. Admission to the Viewpoint costs $10 with a discounted price of $5 for Museum Members.

The Ringling will also host a series of Gallery Walk and Talks.  The Walk and Talk “What’s Behind Closed Doors?” will focus on a selection of works in the exhibition at 6 p.m. on Oct. 30. The Walk and Talk “What’s Behind Closed Doors- An Overview of the Exhibition” will be at 6 p.m. on Dec. 11 and Jan. 8. The Gallery Walk and Talks are included with Art After Five admission, which is free for Museum Members and $10 for the general public.

In conjunction with the exhibition, East Los Angeles group Cambalache will present “Una Historia de Fandango,” a performance inspired by fandango of Son Jarocho– the music and dance of Veracruz that celebrates 500 years of bringing together the Spanish, African, and indigenous cultures of Latin America. Cambalache encourages audience participation in their performance.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 7-8 in the Historic Asolo Theater. Tickets cost $30, $25 or $20 with a discounted price of $25, $20 or $15 for Museum Members.


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